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August 4, 2010
 

God, Science & The Secret Doctrine  IV-chapter 4c

also Microcosm/Macrocosm II - 2C
Section IV

A Scientific Approach to the Mysteries of Creation

4c.  Superstrings & M-Theory
as Ultimate Solutions



 

The search for a unified theory is a central activity in theoretical physics today, and just as Einstein foresaw, geometric concepts play a key role. The Kaluza-Klein idea has been resurrected and extended as a feature of string theory…. In both … the laws of physics that we see are controlled by the shape and size of additional microscopic dimensions. (Bousso, Polchinsky, Scientific American, Sept. 2004)


As scientists peeled back the layers of material nature, they first developed an understanding of atoms.  In the eighteenth century, John Newlands applied the ‘law of the octave’ to understanding the repetition of properties among the different atoms found in the first rows of the periodic table of elements.  These elements appeared to fall naturally into an octave or eightfold pattern.  Eventually, all of the elements composing material reality were arranged into seven rows of elements in the periodic tables, which embody different inner octaves patterns.

         During the early part of the twentieth century, physicists came to understand that ‘atoms’ were not truly indivisible or atomic but composed of further three primary elements: protons, electrons and neutrons, embodying positive, negative and neutralizing forces. Subsequently, these elements were further divided into quarks–with protons composed of two ‘up quarks’ and one ‘down quark,’ and neutrons composed of one up quark and two down.  Each has an inner triad of quarks which cannot be separated and which are bound together by their own messenger particles, gluons, which mediate the sub-atomic strong force.

            The 11-dimensional K.K. theory regards any such quantum as the result of ‘broken symmetries’ in an underlying seven dimensional hyperspace.  The more recent theories to be put forth as the ultimate theories concerning the nature of matter are superstring theory and its extension into M-Theory. These theories propose that point particles have extension as ‘strings’ and that different modes of vibration of these strings produce the varied quanta of nature.  In this view, everything at the most microscopic level consists of combinations of vibrating strands or strings.  The mass and force charges of the particles are due to the string’s oscillatory pattern.  Greene (1999) notes: “... each particle contains a vibrating, oscillating, dancing filament what physicists ... have named a string.”  (p. 14) Once again, another layer of the onion of material nature is peeled away.  What were once conceived of as point particles are now determined to constitute a whole inner world on a different inner order of scale. These strings exist at the level of the Planckian units and/or beyond –at many orders of magnitude greater than anything that can be measured or investigated directly with modern technology.

In string theory, the “ultimate building blocks of nature” are these small strings with diameters at the level of the Planck units–around 10-33 centimeters.  This is inconceivably small.  Each different mode of vibrations of these strings corresponds to different fundamental particles.  These modes of vibration are referred to as the ‘zero point vibrations’ of the string. 2 Atkins (2003) provides this arresting analogy to describe these strings: “Just think of the string as pulsing away quietly, like a human heart, each mode of its pulsing corresponding to a different particle.” (p. 197)

2 According to quantum theory, an ‘oscillator’ can never be still but always has some residual energy, referred to as its ‘zero point energy.’ 


The word string implies ‘elasticity’ and string are both bendable and stretchable.  They are also incredibly strong.  Physicist L. Susskind notes:

 Indeed, despite the extreme thinness of fundamental strings, they are incredibly strong—vastly stronger than anything made of normal matter.  The number of trucks that could be suspended from a fundamental string is about 1040. That enormous tensile strength makes it extremely difficult to stretch a fundamental string to any appreciable length.  As a result, the typically size of a fundamental string may be almost as small as the Planck length.  (p. 336) 

 These strings can be open or closed, and can attach or not attach to various membranes-or ‘branes.’  Photons are open strings, while gravitons are closed.  Strings can also absorb or emit other strings.  The ground states of these strings can also be energetically excited, although this takes massive energy expenditure.  Susskind writes:

 If you bombard a string with enough energy, it would spread out and become as big as a violently jittering, tangled ball of yarn.  And there is no limit; even with more energy, the string could be excited to any size.  … black holes—even those giants at the centers of galaxies—are enormously large, tangled “monster strings.”  (pp. 337-8)

             If point particles are replaced by vibrating strings, then this may resolve the inconsistencies between quantum theory and the general theory of relativity, and could ultimately provide that elusive ‘theory of everything’–the holy grail of modern science.  The string concept allows scientists to weld together an understanding of quanta with a new understanding of higher space dimensions.  Although earlier versions of string theory predicted a twenty-six dimensional model of space-time and subsequently a ten dimensional model, the most advanced model posits the eleven dimensions—with a seven dimensional hyperspace existing at every point underlying the four large spacetime dimensions of the everyday world.  Atkins writes:

“... currently it looks as though the different theories can be united into one super-theory if the dimensionality is allowed to rise to eleven. ... string theory is all about strings vibrating in ten dimensions of space and one of time. ... In actuality, there are seven dimensions compactified in this way at each point, with the strings somehow wrapped round them, like a rubber band wrapped round a pipe. The compactified dimensions are thought to adopt a special shape at each point ... called Calabi-Yau spaces ... Shapes like these–in seven dimensions–are the hosepipes of string theory, for the strings wind round them and through their holes. ”  (2003, pp. 197-9)

 

 




            2 According to quantum theory, an ‘oscillator’ can never be still but always has some residual energy, referred to as its ‘zero point energy.’ 

This image is a two-dimensional representation of a seven dimensional Calabi-Yau hyperspace!  Closed strings can loop around the Calabi-Yau space many times, while not be extended at all within the ordinary directions of space. 

Atkin says: “Think of a structure like this (but in more dimensions) as attached to every point in space.” (p. 199)  This illustration is then a revised version of the earlier Scientific American (1985) image of seven-spheres existing at each point.   In a sense, we live in a ‘pixilated universe,’ as each Calabi-Yau space or manifold is like a pixel on a screen.

             The latest version of string theory is called M-theory.  The ‘M’ is related to ‘membrane,’ although Atkins suggests that it might be also in reference to ‘the mother of all theories,’ or to ‘matrix.’  Greene suggests that it might be related to ‘mysterious.’  Regardless, M-theory describes two and other higher dimensional ‘membranes’ –instead of one-dimensional strings—wrapped up in these hyperspaces.  It is the extra-dimensional geometry of these spaces which determines the fundamental physical properties of particles, such as the masses and charges observed within the four large dimensions of everyday experience.

            The Calabi-Yau spaces or strings vibrate through all of the hidden dimensions and the manner in which these extra dimensions are twisted up and curled back upon each other determines the possible resonant vibration patterns. Hence, scientists are especially interested in exploring “the dimensionality of the holes in these spaces ... through which the stings are threaded.”  (Atkins, p.199)  M-theory is trying to answer the question of why there are ‘three families of particles’ in nature.  The answer, according to M-theory suggests that the number of particle families is related to how spacetime is compacted, all of which has to do with the higher-dimensional symmetries of the Calabi-Yau spaces and the dimensionality of their inner holes. 

            Calabi-Yau spaces contain a variety of “multi-dimensional holes” and different families of particles are a reflection of the “number of holes in the geometrical shape comprising the extra dimensions.”  (Greene, p. 217)  Atkins notes, cryptically, that somehow “the number three is emerging as possibly significant” (p. 199), as there are three primary families of elementary particles, each of which exists at three distinct energetic levels (three generations).  Perhaps the number three is inherent to the geometry of the world—as the number seven!  Furthermore, if a string is wound around a compact dimension, it acquires an electrical charge.  Each turn of the string gives a unit of charge, and these charges are positive or negative according to the directions of the turns.   Such entities might be viewed as “a ball of electric charges,” although it might appear from a four dimensional perspective, as electrically neutral.

            Physicists are now exploring the extra-dimensional geometry of thousands of possible Calabi-Yau spaces—which vary according to how many of these holes they contain.  Some have 3, 4, 5, 25, even 480 holes.  Greene notes: “The problem is that at present no one knows how to deduce from the equations of string theory which of the Calabi-Yau shapes constitutes the extra special dimensions.” Greene references the work of Strominger and Witten, which demonstrates that the masses of particles are dependent upon “the way in which the boundaries of the various multidimensional holes in the Calabi-Yau space intersect and overlap with one another.” (p. 217) Since these strings vibrate through the curled up dimensions, the precise arrangements of the holes and the manner in which the Calabi-Yau shape “folds around them,” have bearing upon which resonant patterns of vibration are possible. 

Paul Davies described a model of 11 dimensional theory, with seven hidden compacted dimensions rolled up into elements at zero point levels.  Davies explained: “think of the extra dimensions as somehow inside the atom.”  (p. 160) Remarkably, Blavatsky explained exactly such a peculiar inner dimensionality to ‘atoms,’ quanta, Monads and the Kosmos over a century ago.  There is a complex metaphysics to reality at zero point levels.   As Blavatsky explains, “God ‘geometrizes!” and all living cosmoses differentiate from apparent point sources.  (1877, I, p. 508)  

 

Certainly, advances in modern physics as to the ultimate nature and constitution of quanta have lead to utterly awesome and inspired concepts related to what can be described as zero point dynamics and seven-skinned Eternal Parent Space of Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine.  It seems that, as Blavatsky says, the Gods and other invisible bodies clothed themselves in bodies founded upon “material points without extension”–zero point laya centres. According to Blavatsky, such little ‘holes dug in space’ somehow form the basis for the manifestation of the laws of nature.   Certainly, the Calabi-Yau spaces are such zero point structures embodying such inner multi-dimensional holes.  The basic concepts of these modern theories are quite consistent with Blavatsky’s description of a Kosmos as being founded upon seven such invisible points, “holes dug in space,”  neutral laya centres, which patterns are reiterated through higher dimensions of Space. Science has certainly not rendered Blavatsky’s views as incomprehensible or nonsense, but instead, it allows us to comprehend her archaic mystery teachings in a new way.

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